The Universal Christ

"The resurrection gives us a Christ who is spiritually present; the Holy Spirit gives us a Christ who is universally present. By the coming of the Holy Spirit the risen Christ is made omnipresent, and the whole process of revelation here and now completed. Nothing higher can be looked for until the veil is dropped on the other side. Momentous consequences follow the acceptance of this truth. If the age of the Spirit under which we are now living marks the final outgoing of God to man; if the God who is manifested in Christ is every-where present in the Spirit; if through the medium-ship of the Spirit he dwells in the inner sanctuary of the soul; if he is not only with man, but in man; if through the Holy Spirit his presence within the soul is realized as the presence of Christ, then the time foretold by Jesus has come when temples and shrines are no longer indispensable, when every man has immediate access to God as the Father, and when every humble receptive soul may become "an habitation of God in the Spirit." "
- James Mann Campbell (The Presence, p. 89)

The New Covenant Gift of the Spirit

"Let us recall the three considerations that have been
mentioned. First, that our Lord Himself in His Divine-human nature was on earth, and is now in heaven, possessed of the fulness of the Spirit, and this in such a manner that the Spirit entered into all He was in the one sphere, and enters into all He is in the other. Secondly, that the Spirit given us by our Lord in His glorified condition is His own Spirit in the most definite and particular meaning of the words. Thirdly, that when the Spirit is bestowed upon us He must be made inwardly and experimentally ours, entering into all that we are in a manner similar to that in which He entered into all that Jesus was and is. Let us fix these three points distinctly in our minds, and it will follow that the Spirit promised as the chief gift of the New Covenant is pervaded by human as well as Divine elements. As the Spirit of the exalted and glorified Lord, He is not the Third Person of the Trinity in His absolute and metaphysical existence, but that Person as He is mediated through the Son, who is human as well as Divine. It is on this particular aspect of His being that He diffuses Himself through the members of Christ's body, and abides in them. Only as human, entering into and coalescing with what is human, can He be also our Spirit dwelling in a living and real way within us."
- William Milligan (The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of Our Lord, p. 189)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The chief blessing bestowed by our Lord Jesus Christ as High-priest of His people is the gift of the Spirit, part 7

   "2. The Spirit bestowed by our Lord in His glorified condition is not merely the Spirit, but the Spirit with which He Himself is filled; or, in other words, His own Spirit. Thus it is that St. Paul exclaims, “And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”2 In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus cried, “Abba, Father.”3 We, in our turn, cry, “Abba, Father.” The same Spirit cries in the Head and in the members. So, again, St. Paul exclaims, “For I know that this shall turn to my salvation, through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ”;4 where the words, “the Spirit of Jesus Christ,” mean more than a Spirit given us by Jesus Christ, and more than a general spirit of life in Him. They describe the Spirit belonging to Jesus Christ, belonging to the Son, at the moment when the Apostle wrote. It was of no past historical personality that St. Paul was writing, nor was it merely of a blessing taken out of the treasures of the Lord's grace. It was of the Spirit of a present and living Lord. That very Spirit which had sustained the Redeemer amidst His sorrows, and which was His Spirit as He lived in heaven, was granted to His suffering servant, that he as well as his Master might “glory in tribulations also.” The same thing appears in our Lord's use of such expressions as “My peace,” “My joy”1—expressions to which we fail to do justice if we regard them only as meaning a peace, a joy, which He bestows. They are His own peace, His own joy, passing over into us, and becoming our peace, our joy. The very peace with which our Lord rested Himself on earth, with which He rests Himself in heaven, on His Father's breast, is to be our peace. The very joy which was and still is His, as He dwells in His Father's love and contemplates the results of His finished work, is to be our joy. If it cannot be said that we experience them as He did, it is because we are not yet perfected. Our hearts are not yet sufficiently enlarged to receive the fulness of the blessing. But they will be enlarged; and as they are enlarged we shall receive more. Not to the Son alone, but to all who believe in Him, does the promise belong, “He giveth not the Spirit by measure.”1 The Spirit promised in the New Testament to believers is the Spirit of Christ.
     It is no sufficient reply to this to say that in other passages the Spirit is called the Spirit of God, and is said to be given us by God. That statement is true. “If so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you;” “The Spirit of God dwelleth in you;” “The Holy Spirit whom God hath given to them that obey Him;” “He that anointed us is God, who also gave us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”2 But the thought of God underlying these statements is not that of the First Person of the Trinity in Himself: it is the thought of Him in relation to the Son. Hence the word used by our Lord Himself, when He speaks of the source from which all blessings flow to the believer, appears to be pre-eminently not God but Father—“The Father,” “My Father,” “Your Father.” The two truths meet in the higher unity, that the Spirit proceeds from the Father as He reveals Himself in the Son, and from the Son as the revelation of the Father. He comes from the Father; but God is the Father only in the Son. He comes from the Son, but the Son is the only-begotten which is in the bosom of the Father, and is the “way” to the Father. Such, there is every reason to think, is the true meaning of the Western Church in that great declaration of her Creed which did so much to cause, and which more than everything else perpetuates, the schism between her and the Eastern Church—that the Holy Spirit proceeds not from the Father only, but from the Father and the Son. It was never intended by that clause to assert that there are two distinct sources from which, in exactly the same sense, what is called the Procession of the Holy Spirit takes place. The meaning only is, that it is contrary to Scripture teaching to rest in one of these Divine Personalities alone. The Spirit comes from the Father through the Son, and through the Son as the Son of the Father;1 and, inasmuch as “the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father doing”; and as “What things soever the Father doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner,”2 the Son's works being thus the Father's works, it is clear that the Spirit bestowed upon believers, whether spoken of as the Spirit of God or the Spirit of Christ, is the same gift. The particular mode of speaking depends simply upon the order of our thought,—whether we ascend through the Son to the Father, or descend from the Father through the Son; and St. Paul has combined both forms when, writing to the Galatians, he says, “And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”3 The fact, therefore, that the Spirit granted to us in Christ Jesus is often spoken of as the Spirit of God is no objection to the truth, that that Spirit is Christ's Spirit, the Spirit of One who is human as well as Divine."

*See link for footnotes 

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